2018 Dennis Gabor Medal and Prize

Dr Nils Hempler of M Squared Lasers for his role in founding M Squared Innovation, forming global partnerships, commercialising cutting-edge science in quantum, biophotonics and sensing – and helping to establish new companies to develop products for societal benefit.

2018 Dennis Gabor Medal and Prize Nils Hempler

Since completing his PhD seven years ago, Dr Nils Hempler has demonstrated a significant commitment to commercialising cutting-edge science with the aim of improving the lives of future generations. Instrumental to M Squared’s ongoing success, Nils founded M Squared Innovation to undertake R&D, commercialise cutting-edge science, facilitate strategic alliances, develop IP and mentor graduates. He has overseen the development of more than 20 new quantum, biophotonics and chemical sensing products, secured £42.9 million of technology investment, worked with more than 100 partners across 120 projects globally and employed 35 staff.

Taking a commercial lead from 2014 in the UK Government’s Quantum Technology initiative, Nils worked closely with the quantum hubs from the early planning stages. Notably, he has overseen the rapid translation of inertial quantum sensors and quantum imaging systems from university labs to industry. His work has resulted in several UK commercial firsts, most notably a cold atom gravimeter. In doing so, Nils has established the foundations of an emerging UK quantum supply chain with M Squared at its heart.

Nils was instrumental in the commercialisation of airy-beam light-sheet imaging techniques, facilitating knowledge transfer from the University of St Andrews, undertaking early technology validation, winning grant support to exploit the patent portfolio, and culminating in the establishment of M Squared Life. This led to the IOP Business Innovation Award-winning Aurora microscope, helping scientists learn more about diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and cancer – now used by leading labs worldwide.

Working with academia and Government, Nils championed the development of sensing solutions for the remote detection of chemical warfare agents, before raising £2.95 million for a consortium to further develop and test the technology. Similarly, he developed a wavelength-modulated Raman system for fingerprinting liquids to reduce whisky counterfeiting. Related technology is also under evaluation for therapeutic drug monitoring applications in healthcare.

Nils has proven adept at developing early commercial physics-based products. He has set the technological foundation for multiple spin-outs, including M Squared Life, Distilled Solutions and M Squared’s new quantum division. He has opened three innovation hubs in the UK, the US and Germany, creating high-value jobs for physics graduates globally.

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